Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Forming Pliers

By on June 20, 2017
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by Judy Ellis,

Wire Jewelry Tip for June 20th, 2017

Get to Know Your Hand Tools – Forming Pliers

by Helen I. Driggs


Specialty Pliers: Forming Pliers

Forming pliers are used to perform special bending and shaping tasks for wire and sheet metal fabrication. This sturdy class of pliers helps you to create ring shanks, bails, bezels, settings and other parts for creating fabricated jewelry. Several categories of forming pliers are available on the market, but most feature strong, box or lap joint construction, long handles for better leverage, and padded or coated grips to protect your hands from pressure during work.


What to know about forming pliers:

Half-Round pliers are the most commonly found forming pliers, and are available in light, medium and heavy-duty versions for handling a variety of wire or sheet gauges. One curved jaw and one flat jaw allow the jewelry maker to gradually shape curves in wire or sheet.

90° Bending pliers feature a curved top jaw and a wide V-grooved bottom jaw to create round-cornered 90° bends in wire and metal sheet.

Ring-bending pliers feature curved jaws, and the upper jaw is sharply curved, while the lower jaw is more gently curved to create smooth bends.

Dimpling pliers create small hemispherical divots in metal sheet. A steel ball attached to the top jaw inserts into a cup-shaped indentation on the opposite plier jaw. Several different diameters are available.

Concave and convex pliers can be used to bend ring shanks or intricate and sharply-curved shapes for earring wires or for sheet metal fabrication.



  1. Like all pliers, choose them based on need and appropriateness to your work. Test them if you can, and look out for harsh edges that may mar your metal.
  1. My favorite forming pliers are heavy ring bending pliers. Use them to pre-form heavy gauge half round wire stock into the perfect shape for cleanly soldered ring bands.


HELEN I. DRIGGS is an experienced metalsmith, lapidary and studio jewelry instructor and has appeared in 6 instructional jewelry technique videos. Her book, The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide was published in 2013.

plr-726.30 plr-731.50 plr-835.00 g2-105

Above are some of our recommended Forming Pliers that can be found on our website!


Happy Wrapping!

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